Don’t put blinders on children by banning books

This society is struggling to improve the public education of our young people. A complete and balanced education is one of the main building blocks of a thriving and healthy community and a well-functioning nation. It is a very frightening notion that, from a place of seeming fear, mainstream books are banned.

I want to thank Dan Ceaser for writing a recent column on the current wave of book bans. I hope many people will read it and many more will speak up.

Books are one of the most important tools for learning about our world. Caesar reminds us that “courses that draw on novels that introduce children to diverse perspectives have been proven to foster empathy, increase cross-cultural friendship, develop critical thinking, and encourage identity formation. healthy”.

It is indeed with this notion that I remember my youth. In the 1970s, I was a middle and high school student in the Netherlands. The classes were divided into classes A (languages) and B (maths, sciences) at the time. Everyone learned English at school, except Dutch. I also learned French and German.

At the time we had to read 20 books in English and 17 books in French and 17 in German. The reason: learn to read in this language, discover the culture and immerse yourself in it. Most of the English books in our literature list were from Britain and some were American. Both “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee and “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain were on this list.

It was an arduous task to read so many books in foreign languages ​​with subjects that were not always easy. I remember debating classes and having to discuss euthanasia during a German exam. When I was in elementary school, I remember reading a novel about a Jewish family in a concentration camp during World War II.

The world is not an easy place and things are not getting any easier. Putting blinders on young people and preventing them from learning all the facets of this world does not improve children’s health and resilience. It does not protect children, because one day we all come into contact with the harsh realities of life.

We are to be taught through books, instructional texts, and media like films that will contain opinions and truths that may not match our own belief systems. However, these will be a great opportunity to discuss openly and learn that we are not all in this world or living the same values ​​and realities.

It is amazing to me that there is an apparent fear that young people are being exposed to books that have already been “approved by educators using multiple matrices to determine reading level and age-appropriate interest”, as Ceaser writes. I hope we will all think again and let educators educate and librarians guide us, for these are the professionals who are essential in helping our young people build and expand their horizons.

It was a librarian who befriended me and helped me find a good book to read to my son: “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle. Erin Gruwell I am grateful to all the many educators involved in our lives.

May this wave of book bans end soon, and may we look forward to generations of better-informed leaders following ours.

Annemieke Pronker-Coron lives in Gainesville.

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